The outspoken venture capitalist who took Facebook into the big-time is now on Team Trump, and will serve as a delegate for the campaign during the GOP convention this summer. This may not even be his worst idea.
The news will come as a disappointment to many who idolize Thiel for his ability to pick winners and make enormous amounts of money based on the software creations of others—he’s been deified in the tech sector for some time now, even serving as the basis for the character of Peter Gregory in HBO’s Silicon Valley. It’s an industry that’s struggled to make itself less white and more inclusive, so for a household name like Thiel to align himself with the White Power candidate is bad news. But it’s not totally surprising: Thiel’s political views are as murky and septic as Trump’s—he is a gay man who has generously supported the Republican party, paid kids to drop out of college, and has long dreamt of building a literal floating libertarian island paradise where only the free market (and Peter Thiel, presumably) would rule. In the sense that they are both men who haven’t thought a lot of their ideas through, Peter Thiel and Donald Trump are a logical pairing of two incoherent men. They’ve also both failed at business at least as much as they’ve triumphed.
But it’s still a bummer to see a very public figure in a very influential, exciting portion of the economy siding with a bigot—it will likely make all the people in Silicon Valley who don’t happen to look like Mark Zuckerberg feel even less welcome. You wonder how the Muslims and Latinos who work at Thiel’s portfolio companies might feel today.